Angie Munch is a pediatric physical therapist who specializes in aquatics. So when she told her mom about the Otteroo, her mom bought two for Angie’s twin sons.
Angie has been singing Otteroo’s praises ever since. We asked, in her expert opinion, why she thought the Otteroo was so beneficial.
As a pediatric aquatic therapist, what do you think is so great about what the Otteroo allows kids to do?
It allows children the freedom of movement and organic movements sometimes for the very first time! It’s so great to see a kiddo’s face light up when he or she is able to move by him or herself for the very first time without someone holding on! It’s also such a great medium (water) to work with the medically fragile population and the neck ring allows me as a therapist to work on other parts of the body without having to worry about the head going under water.
Do you think there are any added benefits to being able to move so freely on their own at an early age?
Oh my goodness, yes! It is so important for early childhood mobility. Infants in particular change and grow so rapidly that we as clinicians and parents have a hard time keeping up. Frequently their mental capabilities are faster than their motor skills and this can be extremely frustrating. Take rolling for example; my boys are prime examples that getting in the neck ring two to three times a week for 10-20 minutes in the bath tub can help build anterior chain musculature that otherwise may not have developed as quickly, due to the amount of time they spend on their backs during the first 0-4 months of life. Also, taking into account prematurity (especially in the growing twins population), being in the water is one of the best things. Particularly, for 0-3 month kids but it’s also great for those who can’t sit on their own yet. Preemies miss out on XYZ number of weeks in utero and therefore miss out on the extra time in amniotic fluid where they develop a fluidity to their movements. In the twins population, it’s super common for birth to take place at 36-38 weeks, so they miss out on 2-4 weeks in utero, and are also limited in exploring their bodies due to sharing the womb. I am a HUGE proponent of water therapy. Over my 10 years working in the water, I’ve seen so many improvements in not only infant population, but also in the medically fragile. Children love to succeed. The neck ring allows them to be like their peers because water levels the playing field. If I could only bring one “tool” with me to the pool, it would be my neck ring simply because it works well for so many!
So, you use it at home quite often?
It is the ONLY way we do bath time! They can be super unhappy and losing it for whatever reason before but once they are in the neck ring and in the water, crocodile tears go away immediately and turn into big, big smiles!! To say they love it would be an understatement.
Who do you recommend use the Otteroo?
I mostly recommend it to parents with children between 0-9 months (pre-walkers), but also use it in my medically fragile clientele such as kids with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, osteogenesis imperfecta (water is the only way to safely do therapy with these kids in my opinion, pending level of severity due to frequent bone fractures), and autism youngsters (they love the vestibular input and pressure the water gives, but frequently don’t like to be touched or held).
How does the Otteroo benefit those patients?
Freedom of movement, strengthening of muscles and cardiovascular systems, range of motion improvements, balance improvements, improvements in happiness during therapy frequently seen and reported by parents (once parents get into aquatics, they rarely want to leave it), confidence growth, and so many more!
Did you have any concerns about using a device around your baby’s neck before you used it?
No I did not, but I have been using something very similar for years and I put it on myself before trying on any patients, granted I don’t quite float as well as they do since I may be a little over the weight limit.